Actor Luke Perry, who rose to fame as a heartthrob in the hit 1990s television series Beverly Hills, 90210, died on Monday at the age of 52, triggering an outpouring of grief from friends and former co-stars.
Perry had been hospitalized last week after suffering a massive stroke at his home in Sherman Oaks, a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles.
He died surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, his fiancee Wendy Madison Bauer and ex-wife Minnie Sharp, his parents, siblings and other close family and friends, his agent Arnold Robinson told AFP.
“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning,” Robinson added, in a statement.
Tributes came flooding in following news of Perry’s death, led by his co-stars on 90210 and on Riverdale, the television series based on the Archie comics in which he plays Archie’s father.
“Luke was a tremendous force in the lives of so many. He was a very sensitive soul who was kind, generous and he fought for the underdog,” said Gabrielle Carteris, who played Andrea Zuckerman in 90210.
She said she was “absolutely heartbroken” at the loss.
The son of a steelworker from Ohio, Perry got his big break playing Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills in 1990, a role that made him a global household name.
The show ran for 10 seasons from 1990 to 2000 and followed the lives and romantic entanglements of a group of teenagers living in an affluent area of Los Angeles. It became a huge international hit.
“I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine,” Perry was once quoted as saying of the career-defining role.
Perry was hospitalized on February 27, the same day Fox announced it was rebooting 90210, featuring six of the original stars including Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling — though there was no confirmation Perry would be part of the reboot.
News of his stroke had triggered an outpouring of support from celebrities including his former co-star on the teen drama Shannen Doherty, who shared an old cast photo of her character locked in an embrace with Perry’s — they were one of the show’s super couples.